Chronicling the decline of Braddock, PA, a hard-luck town which once flourished as “Pittsburgh’s shopping center,” the story concerns a director (Tony Buba, playing himself) trying to make a movie with a crazy street hustler named Sal, who considers himself responsible for Buba’s success.
You may know many American independents from the 80s—Jarmusch, Spike Lee—but chances are don’t know Tony Buba. A regional director par excellence, Buba’s resolutely working class, Pittsburgh-based filmmaking feels like an alternate direction “indie” cinema could have (and perhaps should have) gone.
A Michael Moore-style of documentary, without sanctimonius voice overs: Buba primarily lets his subjects do the talking. He struggles as his career rises proportionately as mills and businesses close. Highlights include a silent sing along to the Rolling Stones' Jumping Jack Flash (which would have cost $15K to include) so Buba refuses to pay when the average annual salary for Braddock residents is a third of that.
(1.5 stars) I guess you can color me disinterested, or perhaps confused. I do not get why this is considered any good. At all. I do understand that small towns have a lack of production value. But this film has a HUGE LACK of filmmaking talent on display and a HUGE ABUNDANCE of self-promotion on display. Need does not always equal Quality. There is nothing artistic, creative or talented here.
While the Narrative was well written, I did find this film a little hard to watch. Not to say that it wasn't a good film, I just didn't like the cinematography. Overall the topic of America's declining steel industry is interesting and really gives light to the life people go through because of it. Overall this film was interesting to say the least.
Tony Bubas directing in Lightning Over Braddock is pretty bad. The scenes are not cut together very well, and the score of this film does not go with the film at all. The storyline is uninteresting and not very well developed. One of the major problems with this film is the narrator. The narrator's voice almost seems lifeless, like the narrator is not interested as well. Recommending this film would be hard to do.
Tony Buba, the director, narrator, and star of the film, is a well-known filmmaker in the once booming town of Braddock, Pennsylvania who, throughout his life, has documented the decline of the steel industry of his home town and its effects on the local civilians. From Tony's perspective, its an interesting take on documenting what it's like to be successful in the poverty-stricken town you grew up in.
Was that thunder, or did someone fart? This film is a mess, a Frankenstein's monster seemingly cobbled together from fragments of different projects. And yet... I did watch it to the end. Sal was one of a few interesting characters populating Braddock and it seemed like Buba and his pals had a lot of fun making the film. The documentary parts about the loss of manufacturing jobs seems especially relevant now.